The admin burden of keeping friendships alive (and failing?)

Okay, so this is perhaps more of a grumble than usual.

But perhaps I’m just a bit more grumpy than usual.

Or introspective.

In short, I’m finding the admin burden of keeping some friendships alive quite hard.

Perhaps this is just an age thing. Perhaps it is not.

To be clear, I am talking about some friendships. Not all. If you are a friend reading this, it almost 100% definitely does not relate to you.

I’ve started, so I’ll finish

Often, I feel that I’m the one who initiates conversations, even if that’s just sending a message every few months to say “hello, how are you?”, or asks how their children are getting on, or whatever it might be.

But nearly every time, it starts with me.

Some times I get a reply; some times I don’t.

And when I don’t, if I follow up in a few weeks or months time, I feel like I am chasing, or nagging, or demanding attention.

So often, I’m the one who says “fancy meeting up for a coffee?”, and if they do, I end up arranging the video conferencing, or picking the place.

When we catch up, it’s fun. It is like chatting with an old friend. But after that, nothing until I put the effort in again.

And it just feels rather one-sided, and I’m a bit grumpy about it.

Transactional friendships

Can I just ask you about…

Over the years, I seem to have collected quite a few “transactional” friendships - where someone only pops up when they want something, such as getting a signature on a passport application, or a certified copy of a document, or the like.

And don’t get me wrong, I’m more than happy to do this kind of thing for my friends, including people I may only know online (although that brings some technical complexities with it, but that’s for another post).

I’m sometimes content to do it for people who I know about who just ask about it. I try to be helpful.

But it grates a bit when someone who I still think of as a friend only gets in touch when they want something.

(Obviously this doesn’t apply to friends who have become clients, or clients who have become friends: they, of course, are welcome to ask me stuff because that’s a clear part of the relationship.)


Perhaps they just may not have the time, or energy, or mental headspace, or whatever, to think about getting in touch, let alone actually doing it. If so, I’d still like to be there for them.

Perhaps they worry that they’ve left it so long that doing so would be weird.

Perhaps I’m just not in the same places as them - virtual or offline - regularly enough. I’m not massively sociable, or massively available to be sociable. I’m not on Facebook, or LinkedIn, or whatever social media platforms they use, if indeed they use any.

These days, it’s basically just the fediverse for me, and I consider some of the people there, who I may not have met in person, to be friends. But then I’m there quite a lot, as often are they, and we chat. I definitely chat with my online friends more than friends with whom I do not share an online connection.

Perhaps I value the friendship more than they do. That I put the effort in because I want it to continue, but that, to them, it doesn’t really matter if it persists or not. Which is a bit demoralising.

Or perhaps there just isn’t a friendship there any more…

Perhaps it’s just a relationship. The kind of thing where, if we happened to bump into each other, we’d have a nice chat for a few minutes, and then move on, until the next time. Because that is basically what happens.